Black Diamond Reactor

At 1 pound 8 ounces, the Reactor is not the lightest tool around, but I liked the weight for plowing through hard ice. While the security of leashes will always occupy a fond place in my heart, leashless climbing is here to stay.

BDReactor.jpgBlack Diamond Reactor | $189.95 bdel.com  ★★★★

Clean, simple, elegant – a couple of years ago, I would never have used those words to describe a leashless ice tool with an offset grip. But that was before I held a set of the new Black Diamond Reactors in my mitts. While the security of leashes (the futzy bastards) will always occupy a fond place in my heart, leashless climbing is here to stay. The Reactor, with Grivel’s X-Monster and DMM’s Rebel, is among the first tools to be ice specific, claiming that leashless climbing is not just for high-end mixed routes.

The most notable difference between the Reactor and mixed-specific tools (e.g., the BD Fusions) is the Reactor’s large grip, which let me climb in a thick pair of mittens. A groove in the handle feels more like, say, the grip on the BD Cobra than the BD Viper. The offset grip features an oval-shaped platform for matching, and the width of the shaft was easy to hold.

Up top, the Reactor sports the BD Laser pick, a tried-and-true dagger. Right out of the box, it displaces too much ice and is difficult to clean, but with some basic filing, it can be whittled down to a precision instrument.

At 1 pound 8 ounces, the Reactor is not the lightest tool around, but I liked the weight for plowing through hard ice.

At 1 pound 8 ounces, the Reactor is not the lightest tool around, but I liked the weight for plowing through hard ice.

The Reactor can come with a hammer or adze. The hammer, however, was hard to swing due to the angle of the shaft. I had to choke up on the shaft in order to get the proper trajectory to be accurate when placing pins or flattening sections of ice to place a screw.

Because of its thoughtful design and functional features, the Reactor is more versatile than most leashless tools. I would take it on almost any ice climb, or even on alpine and mixed ice routes.

 

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